Space

NASA satellite snaps fireball 10 times more powerful than Hiroshima bomb

NASA satellite snaps fireball ...
The fireball (center) was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima
The fireball (center) was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima
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The fireball (center) was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima
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The fireball (center) was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima
The fireball was detected on December 18, 2018 by the Terra spacecraft
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The fireball was detected on December 18, 2018 by the Terra spacecraft

NASA has released images of a meteor exploding over the Bering Sea last December with a force over 10 times greater than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. On December 18, 2018 at 23:55 GMT, the space agency's Terra satellite took a series of photos of a giant fireball exploding 16 mi (26 km) above the Earth's surface that is estimated to have released 173 kilotons of energy, making it the largest meteor blast since the Chelyabinsk incident of 2013.

If a meteor detonates in the Arctic with the magnitude of a medium yield nuclear device and there's no one to hear it, does it make a boom? That's the not very comforting question posed by the fireball exploding off the coast of Alaska as captured by five of nine cameras on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard the Terra spacecraft.

According to Cornell University, the Earth is struck by up to 84,000 meteors over 10 grams in size each year, and many times more that are smaller than grains of sand. Almost all of these burn up high in the atmosphere, but NASA says that two or three times a century our planet is hit by meteors that are large enough and volatile enough to generate a city-smashing blast.

The fireball was detected on December 18, 2018 by the Terra spacecraft
The fireball was detected on December 18, 2018 by the Terra spacecraft

Fortunately, all of the known incidents in recent times that we know of happened away from populated areas, although the Chelyabinsk object that exploded high over Russia with the force of 30 Hiroshima bombs still caused property damage, and injured many people with flying glass and flash blindness. However, things could have been much worse if the blast had been closer to the ground or over a city center.

In other words, we've been lucky.

In the recent NASA images, the 173-kiloton Bering fireball shows up as an elongated orange-tinted scale left by the trajectory of the meteor as it burned up in the atmosphere, with its shadow visible against the lower clouds. The space agency says that fireballs are quite common and they are tracked by the NASA Center for Near Earth Object Studies database, but the vast majority of these are nothing more than small bursts that are more entertaining than dangerous.

Source: NASA

4 comments
Observer101
Those exploding meteors must put out a great deal of heat when they are large (like the one over the Bearing Sea or the one over Russia)... What do the "Global Warming Alarmist" have to say about that? Call Al Gore, he'll no doubt have a solution...
nono
The sun irradiates the earth with the energy of a couple hiroshimas every single second.. so this explosion was equivalent to 10 seconds of sun. With carbon and methane we are imbalancing that .. and it is enough to imbalance it by a tiny fraction (0.4%) to have the energy of the equivalent hundreds of these explosions every hour. By changing the atmosphere with pollution its huge energies we are playing with without even knowing.
nono
In addition there is historic warming of the bering sea this year and it is totally free of ice. In addition enourmous deposits of frozen methane have been discovered under the seafloor. What scientists fear most is that warming will explode these methane deposits that are as big as states. It has already happened in the past and there are gigantic craters outside norway and new zealand... when it happened 150 million years ago, nothing survived.. except a few critters on a beach that took 100000 years to repopulate the earth. This time life could be less lucky. Nobody knows not even scientists for how long can we still be stupid and get away with it
ljaques
Right you are, Observer1. Algore will no doubt BAN METEORS!